Children’s Intuition: A Special Key to Success in Life
Apr 04, 2011 12:32PM
● By Catherine Crawford
A child’s intuition, or sixth sense, may be more important in the life of a child than many people realize. Intuition helps alert kids to danger, provides guidance in decision making and helps in problem solving, enabling youngsters to jump more quickly to a solution. Nurturing children’s intuition and keeping it alive helps them maintain a clear connection to this inner compass.
All children are intuitive, but some are more highly so and experience more intuitive messages, or perceptions, with greater frequency than others. They often are unusually aware of the needs and feelings of friends, parents, siblings and animals. These children may translate the unspoken needs of younger siblings and pets with striking accuracy and even pick up on the predominant feeling of a group of people as they enter a room. Others may tune into an unspoken family conflict or tell someone to be careful before stumbling into an unknown situation.
In my psychotherapy practice over the past 20 years, I’ve noticed that intuitive children who are raised with respect for their insights and taught to manage the stressors that can emerge with this trait generally grow up to be healthy, balanced, intuitive adults. On the other hand, when highly intuitive children learn to suppress their inner truth and stop respecting their own inner compass, they suffer undesirable consequences. Many manifest reduced self-esteem, self-doubt, confusion in decision making and difficulties with interpersonal boundaries as adults. They are more likely to defer to what other people want, even at the expense of their own health, boundaries and better judgment.
How to Support an Intuitive Child
In parenting and guiding, we can make a big difference in supporting children’s intuition and empathy. Three keys are to give kids positive feedback for these abilities, help them learn how to deal with associated stressors and teach them real-life skills designed with their individual abilities in mind.
Children’s messages to us can be simple and direct. Here are ways we can help and support an especially intuitive child:
• Stay open to her perceptions without judgment.
• Try not to inflate or deflate her intuitive experience when we respond to it.
• Help her see that her way of feeling and seeing life is an important part of who she is, just like any other gift or talent.
• Realize that she may need our help in learning how to manage the stressors associated with this innate lens through which she sees the world.
• Let him know that he is never alone and we are available to help him.
• If he has empathically taken on someone else’s mood, aches, pains, or worries, help him to practice asking, “Is this feeling mine?” Remind him that he’s not responsible for anyone else’s feelings.
• If a child is stuck in a pattern of being in tune with others’ pain or the pain of the world, help him learn to switch to being on the “self channel.” We can help him do this through exercise, by encouraging him to express his feelings in art, or even by taking a couple of slow deep breaths along with us.
Perceptive children call for perceptive parenting. Parents can help keep intuition strong in their children and help solidify this gift for life by adopting these supportive behaviors.
Catherine Crawford is a licensed marriage and family therapist and registered art therapist, specializing in the needs of intuitive empaths. Her new book is The Highly Intuitive Child: A Guide to Understanding and Parenting Unusually Sensitive and Empathic Children. Learn more at LifePassage.com.
Signs of a Highly Intuitive Child
Intuition involves the ability to pick up on subtle information that is not perceived directly through any of the five senses, but rather is detected through an invisible sixth sense. Empathy is the ability to tune in to how another person is feeling by registering those feelings through the body. Intuitive empaths experience these ways of perceiving the world through an extra-magnified lens.
Do you have a highly intuitive child? Read the following 10 traits and check those that apply. My child:
• Has a way of finishing my sentences and reading my thoughts.
• Has an ability to “see” things before they happen and is surprised that other people respond to her predictions with amazement.
• Frequently translates the needs of younger siblings and pets for me and is surprisingly perceptive.
• Is agitated by noisy, crowded events, and it takes him a long time to bounce back after such disruptions.
• “Catches” others’ emotions or upset moods, almost like a cold.
• Is prone to headaches and stomachaches related to other people’s stress.
• Feels tension during traumatic world events, maybe even drawing pictures of them or spontaneously talking about them, without any external information about the events.
• Is hard to keep a secret or surprise from; for example, she routinely guesses her birthday presents.
• Has a tendency to have insights about other people and the world that outpace developmental norms.
• Reports feeling different from his or her peers.